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Sox rookie Conor Gillaspie loves leather more than lumber



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Updated: July 22, 2013 5:07PM

MINNEAPOLIS — For rookie Conor Gillaspie, there’s nothing like going 4-for-4, or, as he did against Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey Tuesday night, launching a 407-foot home run.

Except making a great play in the field.

Call him nuts, but Gillaspie, who has not only played solid defense at third base but has made numerous highlight-type stops as well, says throwing leather is where it’s at for him.

“I would honestly rather go 0-for-4 and take a hit away from somebody than go 4-for-4 and make an error,’’ Gillaspie said Tuesday. “Most people would say ‘you’re crazy,’ but there is no better feeling than making a play and having a pitcher say ‘thanks.’ ’’

When Gillaspie was a supplemental first-round pick by the Giants in 2008, the knock on him was his defense.

“Coming out of college, I was awful,’’ he said. “I owe a lot to the Giants, honestly. They said, ‘hey if you’re going to play at this level you have to put as much time on defense as offense.’ ’’

Gillaspie, who has made three errors, said he dedicated his entire first Class AAA season in 2011 to his defense. When the Sox traded for him during spring training, third base coach Joe McEwing helped him with his pre-pitch routine, helping him anticipate where balls are hit.

“Defense, it’s important,’’ he said.

Thank goodness

So much more was expected of Dayan Viciedo after he hit .255 with 25 homers and 78 RBI after his first full season. Viciedo, 24, who was doing what the Sox wanted when he came off the disabled list, has regressed and was hitting .223 with four homers and 18 RBI through Monday — although his three-run double against the Astros Monday was big, and manager Robin Ventura likes how Viciedo has been trying to hit the ball up the middle.

“What you’re looking at now is not indicative of his talent. You continue to understand he is young and it’s getting better,’’ Ventura said.

This and that

First-round draft pick Tim Anderson is bypassing advance rookie ball in Bristol, Va., and will get started at Class A Kannapolis.

◆ Jesse Crain has struck out 36, walked seven and held hitters to a .175 average during his 27-game scoreless streak.

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